Artist Spends 16 Years Building Model of Monastery
January 17, 2012
Upon inspection, Bulgarian artist Plamen Ignatov’s 16-year long opus in the making, a giant scale model of the Rila Monastery faithfully rendered in matchsticks, appears the perfect act of futile heroism–to borrow a phrase from artist Barnett Newman, who himself applied the assessment to the life and work of Arshile Gorky. The world has significantly changed since Ignatov began his work, but his dedication has remained steadfast, unmoved by the forces of expediency, customization, and digitalia which shape cultural production today. Click through for more photos!
In that time, he has collected the raw material–upwards six million matchsticks, along with piece of wood and stones–to piece together his large model by hand. The romantic notion of the fatally stubborn and aloof artist, however, cannot presumably be applied to Ignatov, who has created a highly ironic work. At a time when nearly no building, complex, nor any material object requires the construction time Ignatov demanded to craft his monastery, the work stands in the face of current art and design practice.The finally finished (?) work awes with its massive size and the evident care with which it was made. Yet its impact is, of course, significantly augmented with the knowledge of the substantive manpower behind its creation.
The model is currently on view at the Museum of Archaeological in Sofia, Bulgaria.
Rila Monastery, the iconic Eastern Orthodox monastery in Bulgaria; Photo: Yvon Fruneau